• 48 years and counting

    Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admit… as we start another year – this company has dramatically changed computing.

    Microsoft was founded on April 4, 1975.

    I remember tax season when I first started at my firm – personal computers were relatively new and we filled out these paper input forms in order to prepare tax returns. The forms were then picked up by a courier, driven to the Airport, flown to Torrance, California where someone at CCH/Accutax/other tax vendors would input the information that we had entered on the input forms. They would print out the tax return, put them in envelopes, put them back on an airplane, flown back to Fresno and then a courier to drive around and drop them off at our office a few days later. If we messed up and got something wrong, we would have to enter a “revision” form and send them back for reprocessing. Once again having a courier pick up the change form, having it flown down to Los Angeles, and then back again with the revised tax return.  If the issue wasn’t THAT bad we would take whiteout liquid, cover up the error and type in the revisions ourselves. (I would ruin suit jackets getting not quite dried whiteout on the sleeves every tax season).

    Then came a tax year where farmer deadline was looming on 3/1 (Farmers get the ability to skip estimates if they file by 3/1) and the software company was behind on implementation of the tax changes that year and couldn’t get the farmer tax returns back in time. With four days before the looming deadline we installed a SINGLE IBM 8088 computer and a beast of an HP III printer.  The printer had to have tax font cartridges in order to print out a tax return (remember THOSE DAYS?) and we set up Lacerte tax software on that IBM 8088 (no, not built by Rene Lacerte of bill.com – but second cousins of his), and within a day we were cranking out our own tax returns and no longer relying on meeting the courier deadline, nor facing doing the farmer tax returns by hand.

    We have come a long way in technology in the years in between. Farmers this year are no longer facing a lack of water in Calfornia thanks to the storms we’ve had this year, but in some places too much water. As an aside, if you want to see the California wildflowers or extremely full waterfalls in Yosemite, this will be the year for it. When the snow finally starts melting up there it is going to be the year that will be picturesque for sure.

    I have no idea what the next 48 years will bring. However, I do know that all of us wouldn’t be here without Microsoft. For small businesses and individuals, it has been a game changer for sure. For all that the company can be annoying, it’s also been a dramatic game changer for how we interact with each other, with how we do business, with how we just deal with our daily lives.

    Here’s to the next 48 years.  Stick around and we’ll all see what happens.